Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why I can't accept the existence of season 3 of BBC's The Fall

It's been a while since I last posted a (lengthy) entry on here but I have this gnawing, angry feeling in the pit of my stomach that will not go away. That sort of feeling you get when you are boiling mad but you cannot do anything to improve the situation, which makes the feeling even worse. I am that mad toward the third and final season of BBC's "The Fall", or rather the people who decided to write the third season (for God knows what reason) as we saw it on TV. The first word that comes to my mind when I try to think about this season after "NO!" is "why?" - just why? What happened that this season turned against anything that happened previously?

That’s what really bothers you isn’t it? The one-night stand? Man fucks woman. Subject man, verb fucks, object woman. That’s okay. Woman fucks man. Woman subject, man object. That’s not so comfortable for you is it? 

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If you conducted a survey among girls around the world about fictional heroines, role models or people they would love to hang out with or date, the chances that you would find Stella Gibson named among other people is very likely. The reasons for that are obvious: She is fascinating, mysterious, intelligent, strong, so beautiful, extremely qualified, a fighter and confident. So very confident. Her whole demeanour screams confidence. She knows she is good, she comfortable in her own skin, with her sexuality and she does appreciate when you think you can undermine her (especially when you are a man) or tell her what a man expects of a woman. She does not care about that. She knows exactly what she wants and she is not here for any double moral standards. This is probably not even close to why so many admire Stella and love her and are ready to fight for her and defend her to any foolish person who is naive enough to doubt her.
There is an essence of Stella, that is a throughout the whole series, and it is self-confidence and a level of femininity and responsibility to herself and her sexuality that is foreign to us somehow for some reason. It’s become fascinating, and yet it’s not for anybody else but herself. -Gillian Anderson
 Through two seasons we got to see her in action, try and find out more about her, see how she catches the serial killer, Paul Spector. When everyone in the police of Belfast was lost and didn´t know what to do, how to identify the killer and actually get him in prison, they got her. Nobody else was capable and competent enough but her. She looked past the end of her nose was not caught up in narcissism and narrow-mindedness but actually found the connection between the murders. We watched her do that for two seasons, sitting at the edge of our seat, only to see that Paul Spector was still alive at the end of season two. 

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I honestly kept wondering what else was left to tell about this chase now that they had caught him, wondering if it would go in a direction of Broadchurch season 2 where the convicted murderer of Danny Latimer was on trial. That was the only thing I could think of that would make sense. 
But what we got, boggles my mind. Instead of doing that glorious character of Stella Gibson justice and keep her in the focus of the actions, she was shoved aside. All of a sudden the killer's background was important, why he became the monster he has become; having him bewitch the nurse and eventually get out of the hospital (security!?) to take revenge on Stella who meanwhile has been ridiculed by every man on the police department because apparently, they all of a sudden are more competent than her, even though they would never have caught him without her in the first place (mind you, she told the male police officers what would happen, did they listen? No! Did it happen! Yes). But that´s not important, apparently. All of a sudden we have the stereotype picture of the man saving the day and the woman being a pretty accessory to everything but who is still a bit of an idiot, justifying all of the happenings in this fatal season by saying something along the line of "but it was important to show how brutal men can be!"
Do the writers of the show really think their audience lives under a rock? We see shocking news of domestic abuse, of violence against women in every shape and form every single day of our lives. Some of the audience members may even have gone through it themselves. To nobody, this is "brand new". We KNOW! We don´t need to see it on a screen. What the audience loved about the show was not the importance to show (again) how predatory men are and how they always think they are superior. What made this show stick out was the leading character, Stella Gibson and the feminism she brought to light. So naturally, for me, it was a given that in season 3 they would explore her background, not Paul Spector's (and I mean exploring by mentioning her past in more than just 3 sentences). What was written in those diaries? What was her relationship to her father? How and why has she become who she is etc.? But instead, we got the same recipe that has been used among male writers for as long as we have movies and TV (well, excepting for the pre-code films of the early 1930s, they would have loved Stella Gibson, quite frankly). It´s disappointing, mind-boggling to the extent that I am not sure what to do first: scream, cry, throw my water bottle against the wall or run the whole anger off. I don´t know where, when and why the writers decided to make this as terrible as possible and as misogynistic as possible (if that was their intention: congratulations, you absolutely succeeded).

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I think, the whole issue starts with the fact that a man wrote it. No sane woman would have written such a script. And if you need proof of how fantastic all-female productions can be, where men don't feel threatened in their masculinity by women is when you look at another British TV show, a crime drama as well, Scott & Bailey, with the difference that from the writers to the directors it is an almost all-female production from season 1 on until season 5. They too center around three detectives (Janet Scott, Rachel Bailey, and Gill Murray) but you never see them completely out of character, being undermined by men who think they are better than them (and there is a scene in season 4, where I wished this had happened in The Fall). None of these three detectives is without flaws but you see them evolve through five seasons without getting the feeling that this is wrong or weird or unnatural. Scott and Bailey is more real in their character representation and in the way they develop through the seasons as The Fall did with their jump to season 3. And the ones who don't believe me, give that show a chance, you will see what I mean.

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What is left for me is to ignore the existence of this final season of The Fall and imagine Paul Spector died on the way to the hospital at the end of season 2. It would have done a great favor to a lot of us. The only good thing about that show is that it is over now so no man can tamper with it even more and we once again saw the brilliant acting of Gillian Anderson. But we knew that already.

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